Saturday, June 15, 2013

Sleaze, Lies and Audio tapes – The IPL Saga

Few weeks back we all were gung ho about IPL, singing paeans, praising it to the hilt, and suddenly everything came crashing down like a pack of cards. The spot fixing scandal raised its ugly head again to torment one and all. The 3 protagonists in this sleaze, allegedly accepted money from the bookies to forfeit the teams winning cause and thus help bookies earn the moolah. This was all discovered through cop’s intercepting conversations between bookies and players. This in itself was serendipity of sorts with cops primarily investigating possible terror strikes by terrorists, stumbled upon conversations between bookies and players. This in turn led them to discover fixing in IPL matches.

With arrest of 3 cricketers and number of bookies across, has opened up the Pandora’s Box and number of skeletons are tumbling out of the closet. This entire saga is becoming murkier day by day with some influential and powerful people playing the villain. This has resulted in fans getting disillusioned and betrayed. Now every match be it IPL or other will be viewed with suspicion, and this is not a good sign for cricket.

Though fixing is not a new phenomenon in cricket, the enormity of this scam in this year’s IPL has shocked many a million, from BCCI contracted to fringe players, bookies, some franchisee owners, underworld, celebrities all have made merry in this year’s edition, at the expense of innocent cricket loving fans, who fast, pray, revere cricketers as demi gods, but who cares.

This entire fixing trap was set intelligently by the bookies, with escorts used as baits to lure players and other officials, and once they were trapped they were black mailed and dragged into the seedy business of fixing and betting, it is also interesting to know that, this trap was laid particularly for players who were vulnerable and could be easily lured.

Only 3 players from Rajasthan Royals team were found guilty and arrested in this colossal fixing and betting ring worth 50,000 crores, is not palatable to any sensible person. There is more to what meets the eye. The 3 tainted players should consider themselves unlucky for facing all the wrath of one and all; having said that, they are the culprits who surrendered themselves to the lure and sold themselves for few lakhs in return. This would prove to be an expensive mistake of their life resulting in them being barred for life from playing cricket.
The shocker of this entire saga was, Vindu Dara Singh’s name coming to the fore as a top bookie who mastered the trade very well and was the conduit between the betting ring and the players.  His proximity to Sakshi Dhoni during one of the match set the tongues wagging when he was arrested. His arrest led to another high profile arrest of CSK owner Guru Meiyyappan. This hand in glove with Guru is revealing the nexus between bookies, players, owners, celebrities, business man and their sinister plans. Person of Guru’s stature had access to every minute detail of CSK strategy, be it playing eleven, the injuries in the team, who would play on a particular day, the batting order etc. This information was worth in gold for the bookies, who in turn used it, to put bets on the games and also influence them by buying players to throw the matches.

Arrest of Guru has enormous ramifications, for he is BCCI president’s son-in-law a powerful man himself who is on a sticky wicket at the moment for various reasons.  The probe is on and might reveal more muck in coming months. Corruption in sports and in cricket is so deep rooted that it would take ages to clean it, provided the BCCI mandarins have the will to do it, for they, too have vested interests in this muck, has come to light. This entire saga has put questions on BCCI’s credibility and cricket as a whole. Many of the cricket greats have come heavily on IPL and demanded its closure, for they think it is the root for most evil in cricket, and that it’s not cricket but sham bang entertainment in the name of cricket. To many purists associating entertainment with cricket is not acceptable. Though some of the cricket greats have other opinions but they are not ready to accept entire blame on IPL for the recent mess. They are of a view; instead of rooting out IPL it is imperative to clean the system, educate players on the ills of betting and fixing and putting in place a strong deterrent, in terms of law that would help players, dissociate themselves from all evils in cricket. For many this is wishful thinking.

Putting an end to IPL won’t be acceptable to BCCI; for it’s their golden goose which is filling in their coffers perennially and helping them wield power over ICC, the world cricket governing body. The damage has already been done, players arrested with their cricketing careers next to over, sponsors talking of pulling out, as they don’t want to associate themselves with something which is neck deep buried in corruption, credibility of the sport itself being questioned from all quarters.  With this negativity and gloom all around cricket, the biggest losers are die hard cricket loving fans who from now on would look at every game through a detective’s lens, and thus robbing them of unadulterated enjoyment. Time will tell if cricket and especially IPL weathers the storm or is blown away never to return.

You would also be interested in reading other IPL stories

IPL Mania

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